Jason (High Priest)
Jason (Hebrew: Yason, יאסון) of the Oniad family, brother to Onias III, was a High Priest in the Temple in Jerusalem. Josephus records that his name, before he hellenised it, was originally Jesus (Hebrew יֵשׁוּעַ Yēshua`).
In an ongoing dispute between the current High Priest, Onias III, and Simon the Benjamite, Jason offered to pay Antiochus in order to be confirmed as the new High Priest in Jerusalem. Antiochus accepted the offer and further allowed Jason to build a gymnasium in Jerusalem and create a Greek-style Polis named after the king, Antioch.
Jason's time as High Priest was brought to an abrupt end in 171 BCE when he sent Menelaus, the brother of Simon the Benjamite, to deliver money to Antiochus. Menelaus took this opportunity to "outbid" Jason for the priesthood, resulting in Antiochus confirming Menelaus as the High Priest. Jason fled Jerusalem and found refuge in the land of the Ammonites.
In 168 BCE Jason made a failed attempt to regain control of Jerusalem. Fleeing again to Ammon, he then continued to Egypt, then finally to Sparta, where he died and was buried.
A "letter to the Jews in Egypt", which opens the Second Book of Maccabees, refers to the actions of Jason as a cause of distress, which "revolted against the holy land and the kingdom, set fire to the gatehouse and shed innocent blood".
- Cohen, Shaye J.D. (2006). From the Maccabees to the Mishnah. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press. ISBN 0-664-22743-0.
- Emil G. Hirsch; Isaac Broydé; Richard Gottheil; Samuel Krauss (1901–1906). "Jason (Jeshua or Jesus)". In Singer, Isidore; et al. (eds.). The Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls.
| High Priest of Israel
175 BC—172 BC